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rally enough have concluded that so long and unrestrained an intercourse with a people among whom every man had his tayo or friend, among whom every man was free to indulge every wish of his heart, where from the moment he set his foot on shore he found himself surrounded by female allurements in the midst of ease and indolence, and living in a state of luxury without submitting to any kind of labour, -such enticements to a common sailor might naturally enough be supposed to create a desire for a longer residence in such a country; but this supposition is not borne out by subsequent events. The damage done to the cable was, in all probability, owing to its chafing over the rocky bottom.
The Bounty arrived on the 26th October, 1788, and remained till the 4th April, 1789. On the 31st March, the commander says, "To-day all the plants were on board, being in seven hundred and seventyfour pots, thirty-nine tubs, and twenty-four boxes. The number of bread-fruit plants were one thousand and fifteen; besides which we had collected a number of other plants: the avee, which is one of the finest flavoured fruits in the world; the ayyah, which is a fruit not so rich, but of a fine flavour, and very refreshing; the rattah, not much unlike a chestnut, which grows on a large tree in great quantities; they are singly, in large pods, from one to two inches broad, and may be eaten raw, or boiled in the same manner as Windsor beans, and so dressed are equally good; the orai-ab, which is a very superior kind of plantain. All these I was particularly recommended to collect by my worthy friend Sir Joseph Banks."
While these active preparations for departure were going on, the good chief Tinah, on bringing a present for King George, could not refrain from shedding tears. During the remainder of their stay there appeared among the natives an evident degree of sorrow that they were so soon to leave them, which they showed by a more than usual degree of kind.
ness and attention. The above-mentioned excellent chief, with his wife, brothers, and sister, requested permission to remain on board for the night previous to the sailing of the Bounty. The ship was crowded the whole day with the natives, and she was loaded with presents of cocoanuts, plantains, bread-fruits, hogs, and goats. Contrary to what had been the usual practice, there was this evening no dancing or mirth on the beach, such as they had long been accustomed to, but all was silent.
At sunset the boat returned from landing Tinah and his wife, and the ship made sail, bidding farewell to Otaheite, where, Bligh observes, "for twentythree weeks we had been treated with the utmost affection and regard, and which seemed to increase in proportion to our stay. That we were not insensible to their kindness the events which followed more than sufficiently prove; for to the friendly and endearing behaviour of these people may be ascribed the motives for that event which effected the ruin of an expedition that there was every reason to hope would have been completed in the most fortunate manner."
The morning after their departure they got sight of Huaheine; and a double canoe soon coming alongside containing ten natives, among them was a young man who recollected Captain Bligh, and called him by name, having known him when here in the year 1780 with Captain Cook in the Resolution. Several other canoes arrived with hogs, yams, and other provisions, which they purchased. This person confirmed the account that had already been received of Omai, and said, that of all the animals which had been left with Omai, the mare only remained alive; that the seeds and plants had been all destroyed except one tree, but of what kind that was he could not satisfactorily explain. A few days after sailing from this island the weather became squally, and a thick body of black clouds collected in the east.
water-spout was in a short time seen at no gres! distance from the ship, which appeared to great advantage from the darkness of the clouds behind it. The upper part is described as being about two feet in diameter, and the lower about eight inches. It advanced rapidly towards the ship, when it was deemed expedient to alter the course, and to take in all the sails except the foresail; soon after which it passed within ten yards of the stern, making a rustling noise, but without their feeling the least effect from its being so near.
The rate at which it travelled was judged to be about ten miles per hour, going towards the west, in the direction of the wind; and in a quarter of an hour after passing the ship it dispersed. As they passed several low islands, the natives of one of them came out in their canoes, and it was observed that they all spoke the language of Otaheite. Presents of iron, beads, and a looking-glass were given to them; but it was observed that the chief, on leaving the ship, took possession of every thing that had been distributed. One of them showed some signs of dissatisfaction; but, after a little altercation, they joined noses and were reconciled.
The Bounty anchored at Anamooka on the 23d April; and an old lame man named Tepa, whom Bligh had known here in 1777, and immediately recollected, came on board, along with others from different islands in the vicinity. This man having formerly been accustomed to the English manner of speaking their language, the commander found he could converse with him tolerably well. He told him that the cattle which had been left at Tongataboo had all bred, and that the old ones were yet liv. ing. Being desirous of seeing the ship, he and his companions were taken below, and the bread-fruit and other plants were shown to them; on seeing which they were greatly surprised.
"I landed," says Bligh, "in order to procure some
bread-fruit plants to supply the place of one that was dead, and two or three others that were a little sickly. I walked to the west part of the bay, where some plants and seeds had been sown by Captain Cook, and had the satisfaction to see, in a plantation close by, about twenty fine pineapple plants, but no fruit, this not being the proper season. They told me that they had eaten many of them, that they were very fine and large, and that at Tongataboo there were great numbers."
Numerous were the marks of mourning with which these people disfigure themselves, such as bloody temples, their heads deprived of most of the hair, and, which was worse, almost all of them with the loss of some of their fingers. Several fine boys, not above six years of age, had lost both their little fingers and some of the men had parted with the middle finger of the right hand.
A brisk trade soon began to be carried on for yams; some plantains and bread-fruit were likewise brought on board, but no hogs. Some of the sailing canoes, which arrived in the course of the day, were large enough to contain not less than ninety passengers. From these the officers and crew purchased hogs, dogs, fowls, and shaddocks; yams, very fine and large; one of them actually weighed above fortyfive pounds. The crowd of natives had become so great the next day, Sunday 26th, that it became impossible to do any thing. The watering party were therefore ordered to go on board, and it was determined to sail; the ship was accordingly unmoored and got under way. A grapnel, however, had been stolen, and Bligh informed the chiefs that were still on board, that unless it was returned they must remain in the ship, at which they were surprised and not a little alarmed. "I detained them," he says, "till sunset, when their uneasiness and impatience increased to such a degree, that they began to beat themselves about the face and eyes, and some of F
them cried bitterly. As this distress was more than the grapnel was worth, I could not think of detain ing them longer, and called their canoes alongside. I told them they were at liberty to go, and made each of them a present of a hatchet, a saw, with some knives, gimblets, and nails. This unexpected present, and the sudden change in their situation, affected them not less with joy than they had before been with apprehension. They were unbounded in their acknowledgments; and I have little doubt but that we parted better friends than if the affair had never happened."
From this island the ship stood to the northward all night, with light winds; and on the next day, the 27th, at noon, they were between the islands Tofoa and Kotoo.
"Thus far," says Bligh," the voyage had advanced in a course of uninterrupted prosperity, and had been attended with many circumstances equally pleasing and satisfactory. A very different scene was now to be experienced. A conspiracy had been formed, which was to render all our past labour productive only of extreme misery and distress. The means had been concerted and prepared with so much secrecy and circumspection, that no one circumstance appeared to occasion the smallest suspicion of the impending calamity, the result of an act of piracy the most consummate and atrocious that was probably ever committed."
How far Bligh was justified in ascribing the calamity to a conspiracy will be seen hereafter. The following chapter will detail the facts of the mutinous proceedings as stated by the lieutenant, in his own words.